Cof­fee break in space

The Tribune (NZ) - - VERSE - RE­BECCA READER


The first espresso in space was brewed by an Ital­ian. It had to be. Just as the first or­bital sushi must be rolled by an as­tro­naut from Ja­pan and the first cos­mic toad-in-the-hole baked by a Brit not a Spa­niard. It makes sense that the force of na­tional pride should still be felt at an av­er­age speed of 27,600km/h, whilst gripped by the force of a plan­e­tary cen­trifuge. Or­bit­ing ev­ery 92.69 min­utes, the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion swings by Italy fif­teen times in twenty-four hours, a re­peated re­minder of the home­land, its great­ness, its in­ge­nu­ity, en­shrined in the Ital­ian-made ISS­presso ma­chine en­gi­neered for mi­cro-grav­ity en­vi­ron­ments.

But why on earth would you need a lit­tle caf­feine ‘‘pick-me-up’’, a quick ‘‘high’’ when rid­ing a hab­it­able, ar­ti­fi­cial satel­lite with jaw-drop­ping views (if jaws drop in zero-G) of our vast ce­les­tial mar­ble cruis­ing the black tar­mac of space? Crav­ing an ISS­presso be­cause 250 miles isn’t high enough, fif­teen sun­rises a day fail to perk you up, and an un­hin­dered view of deep space doesn’t give you the buzz you’re af­ter, says that the most un­charted ter­rain, the most un­fath­omable of depths is hu­man de­sire.

‘‘To boldly brew . . . espresso in or­bit with Ital­ian barista.’’ Manawatu Stan­dard, May 6


Sa­man­tha Cristo­fore­tti, wear­ing a Star Trek uni­form en­joys an out-of-this-world ‘Nasa-cafe’ espresso from a spe­cial zero-G cup on board the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion.

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